My name is Becca. I am a 32 year old, happily married, very busy momma to 5 beautiful children who range in age from 11 years down to 3. I think I have battled my weight my whole life. Growing up, my parents were very conscious of their weight, but seemed to go from one diet to another with only short-term successes. I was a pretty quiet kid, who liked to read, write, watch movies, bake cookies, do crafts, and hang out with my friends. I wasn’t real big on sports or really, anything active. I also loved to spend time with my Gramma, and we loved to sit around for hours in her kitchen playing cards and making cookies and apple pie.
I always had a bigger frame than the girls my age, with stocky, muscular legs, and carried most of my weight in my belly (not much has changed). As a teenager, this made me feel really insecure when I as I hung out with my friends who were all so naturally tall and thin. Eventually a friend of mine joined me on trying to lose weight. I think I was about 14 years old. Looking back, it makes me so sad. We told ourselves it was all about health, but really it wasn’t anything close to healthy. I dropped from a healthy, muscular 130 pounds to a sickly 97 pounds in a matter of months. I remember counting calories and trying to eat 800, then 500, then 300 calories a day. I had a lot of tricks up my sleeve to try to distract people from worrying about my weight. Meanwhile, I was getting sicker by the day. Not only did I look “scary skinny”, I was losing hair, freezing cold, I had heart issues, and I was very weak. My parents were scared to death and they tried everything.
Forcing me to eat. Taking me to eating disorder clinics, psychiatrists, and counselors. Pleading with me. Anger. Ignoring it. Punishing me. Nothing worked. I didn’t care about anything but getting thinner. I got down to 88 pounds at one point, and it wasn’t enough.
I told myself at one point, “I WILL NEVER WEIGH MORE THAN 100 POUNDS OR I WILL KILL MYSELF.”
Well. I finally reached a low point one summer day when I had binged. By this point, I had now ventured into the waters of bulimia from time to time as well and had actually gained a little weight. Everyone was so happy with the weight gain, but no one really knew that my struggle was actually growing more intense. To this day, I’m not sure what I was thinking, but either in an effort to commit suicide or to get rid of some of the excess calories, I took every pill I could find in the house. I threw up for days and I thought I was going to die. I finally I decided I’d had enough.
So, without any real support system except for my family and friends (many of whom at this time were also dealing with their own eating disorders), I set out to change. The counselors I had worked with did nothing but irritate me, and I decided I needed to do this for me. So I set out to change my life. It never occurred to me to make healthy choices as I set about to reestablish normal eating, I just ate and I exercised. At first, the food was really scary, and I still had a lot of binge/purge relapses. But eventually, it got easier.
I went away to college and really struggled with my eating. I gained a lot of weight. I think I went from 88 pounds to 170 in a matter of a couple years. I just kept gaining, and I tried to tell myself I didn’t care, but I did. A LOT. And I just ate more to try to numb some of that pain and shame I felt. In the process, I got heavier and heavier.
Then I met my husband, and for a while, I kind of forgot about all my eating issues. I was totally in love, and nothing else really seemed to matter. I didn’t lose any weight or gain any weight, but I was far from being healthy.
A few months later, we decided to get married, and a few months after that had our first child, an adorable baby girl. The moment I held that little pink bundle, I was forever changed. I was determined to set a different example for my precious children.
I can still remember every detail about my last binge/purge cycle when that sweet little one and a half year old toddled into the bathroom and tugged on my leg,
“What’s matter, mommy?”
Needless to say, it never happened again.
So I kind of stopped worrying about my weight, and ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I poured my life into becoming a mother and homemaker. We started homeschooling, and we discovered that we had NO fertility problems whatsoever. I was going through a lot of lifestyle changes, physically and spiritually. I told myself I was done with the dieting thing, but in all honesty, I was just developing another eating disorder in the form of emotional binge eating.
That, combined with five children in 10 years, did a real number on my body. I would lose 20-30 pounds doing some crazy diet, and then gain it all back and then some.
Fast forward to August 2010. We suffered a huge tragedy in our family involving one of our children. I was in such a deep depression, and I just ate to try to numb the pain. I ended up gaining about 40 pounds in just a few short months. That meant I tipped the scales at 275 pounds.
Eventually, I just had enough. I realized what a low point I was at in my life, and I knew it needed to change. I started doing all kinds of research. One day, a friend handed me a book on clean eating and I read it cover to cover in one night. A few months later, I found another book at Barnes and Noble and read that one too. Finally I was sold. If I was going to survive, I was going to need a major turnaround. I picked up a book on clean eating, and I realized that's what I needed.
I spent a couple months planning and preparing. I wasn’t ready, emotionally or physically to really commit to anything. I knew this had to be real and lasting. In my mind, I was going to fight for my life. I was either going to die trying or I was going to have gastric bypass. I felt like this was my last chance. There was a huge sense of urgency that was no longer about going on and off diets. This was how it was going to be for the rest of my life.
SO, on January 2, 2011, I threw out all the processed food in the house. I went grocery shopping and only kept “clean” foods in the house. I joined a gym and started exercising when my girls went to swim team. It was really half-hearted at first, but I was doing SOMETHING. A few weeks later, I started a detox, joined My Fitness Pal, and started going to a boot camp class. It was so challenging. The workouts alone just about killed me. I literally puked a few times. I was so very heavy and out of shape, but it just wasn’t an option. I HAD to do this.
For about the first six months, I ate a really low calorie (like 1000 calories a day) diet and did about 2 hours of cardio. It worked out really well for a while. The weight was falling off me and I was so happy. I felt like I was finally doing something. Then I hit the dreaded plateau and it lasted for 6 months. No matter how little I ate or how much I exercised, nothing happened. My hair started falling out, my skin was flaking off, and I was constantly cold and dizzy. Eventually though, I started gaining weight on 1000 calories. And that’s when I think I finally had enough.
I really wanted to lift weights, but I was really intimidated by the grunting guys in the weight room at the gym. Somehow I stumbled across the book New Rules of Lifting for Women, and I was sold. I learned about the importance of eating to fuel your workouts, and it made sense.
I continued doing some research and eating back some of my exercise calories. Guess what? The scale started to move again!!! I was so excited. I didn’t have to starve myself? Score!!!! But what was even better than the fact that the scale was moving again was the fact that I dropped sizes so fast I had to start buying clothes at Goodwill!
This was a real struggle for me to eat more, because I was so afraid I was going to gain back everything I had lost, but I knew I needed to do this healthfully or the vicious cycle was about to continue. There was a lot of back and forth stuff going on, but finally I committed to it.
I was able to break the 6 month plateau and lose the next 50 pounds, but more importantly, I lost inches. At my heaviest, I wore a size 22. Today I'm wearing a very comfortable pair of size 6's…at 170ish pounds!
I’m totally sold on the eating more thing and Eat More 2 Weigh Less. It is one of the best things I've ever done for my life, my health, and even my family I think has been blessed by it. For the first time in my life, I feel freedom from the eating disorder chains that have bound me for so long! I have to thank God, because He has given me real victory over these struggles in my life. He is still working in my life, and I still struggle from time to time, but I try to keep it real because the fact is none of us has it all together. I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my family, and especially my husband in coming along beside me and encouraging me so many times when I wanted to give up. And of course, the support system I have found on the Eat More 2 Weigh Less (EM2WL) boards has been truly amazing and life changing for me.
Progress, not perfection!
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Becca is a busy wife and homeschooling mother to five children ages 5 to 13. About three years ago, she embarked on a journey to health and fitness that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 pounds. Today, she is a competitive powerlifter and strongwoman who loves ice cream and deadlifts. As an ISSA certified personal trainer, she is passionate about helping women to get started on a lifestyle of strength and fitness.